VISALIA, CA - Back in his first game since Tuesday night, Matt McPhearson stood in with the possible go-ahead run at second base and two outs in the eighth inning. Visalia had already stranded eight runners on base, six of which had been in scoring position, and were stuck in
VISALIA, CA - Back in his first game since Tuesday night, Matt McPhearson stood in with the possible go-ahead run at second base and two outs in the eighth inning. Visalia had already stranded eight runners on base, six of which had been in scoring position, and were stuck in a 1-1 tie. McPhearson, who was hitless in his two prior at bats, didn't wait long to make his mark on the ballgame.
He lined the first pitch he saw from Brandan Marsoneck (L, 0-1) into right field for a single, scoring Austin Byler from second and giving Visalia (58-55/22-21) a 2-1 lead. McPhearson took second on the throw from right, which prompted Jorge Flores to bang a single to center, scoring McPhearson and putting the Toros up 3-1.
Stockton (54-59/18-25) had stranded Visalia runners on base all game. The Toros had runners on the corners in the first, the bases loaded in the second, and runners on second and third in the sixth inning, and in none of those circumstances could Visalia find the big hit. They scored their only run of the game against Angel Duno in the fifth inning when Galli Cribbs Jr. was hit by a pitch, moved to third on a pair of ground outs, and came home on a throwing error by Nate Mondou.
In the three-game series in San Jose, Visalia had chances and couldn't capitalize, hitting .170 as a team with runners in scoring position over the series. With McPhearson back in the lineup tonight, the Toros once again discovered the clutch gene in a late-innings comeback.
Neither starter factored in tonight's game, but both pitched well. Jose Almonte was lifted after five innings, allowing one run on four hits with three walks and eight strikeouts. Angel Duno dealt six innings while allowing only an unearned run on four hits and striking out six with two walks.
Colin Poche took over for Almonte and worked a perfect sixth before falling into trouble with one out in the seventh. With two runners on, Shelley Duncan called for Ryan Burr, who struck out Richie Martin and induced a groundout from Brett Siddal to end the threat. Burr (W, 1-0) would toss a scoreless eighth to pick up the win and Tommy Eveld (SV, 1) would pitch a perfect ninth by getting three groundouts to pick up his first save with Visalia.
With the victory, the Toros will keep sole possession of first place in the Cal League North second half standings for at least one more day.
Visalia will look for the series sweep over Stockton tomorrow and will conclude Taquiza y Toros weekend, where the Rawhide have become the Visalia Toros to celebrate the Hispanic heritage of Tulare County. First pitch is at 6 PM and will feature Arizona Diamondbacks #2 prospect RHP Jon Duplantier (4-1, 2.16) for the Toros and LHP Dalton Sawyer (8-7, 4.82) for Stockton. Tickets are still available on Rawhidebaseball.com.